On the public entrance plaza to the former Nazi Military Base “Grossdeutschland”, built 1937 in Heidelberg, a new plaza design and sound installation reframes and recodes on-site artifacts and original sound fragments of the multi-layered military history of the site, from Nazi terror regime to the re-named U.S. Military Base Campbell Barracks and European Nato Military Headquarters. The design offers a unique, provocative, and innovative approach to re-reading and experiencing history, a weaving of public space, collective memory and individual experience. The sound collages allow a direct, personal and associative experience with the complexity of the site, inviting viewers to reflect on and renew their relationship to the monumental military events that reshaped Europe’s recent past.
In real life, the military and everyday life cannot be separated. Time portraits, weaving military and everyday life experiences, are structured into four periods – war, post-war, cold war and post cold war. They offer an acoustic point of entry into the world view of those in military power, their instrumentalization of acoustic propaganda media and daily sounds encountered by society and soldiers alike. Hence the sound collages seamlessly weave events of public, military and historical space, as well as military and daily life, spanning from Hitler’s announcement of a new world time order “Hour Zero” to the Nuremberg Trials, camp survivors to Marlene Dietrich, Communist bombings on-site to the evening news, propaganda, philosophical reflections to songs of Nina Hagen and Bob Dylan.
The encounter with this space of memory not only contributes towards bridging the gap between an official historical script and collective memory but represents an unusual chance for public and individual appropriation of history – to sensitize us to the manipulability of collective memory, to reinstate an organic connection to past, present and future.
The spatial and atmospheric backdrop to the piece is made up of on-site historical artifacts formerly used for military power and control which have been recycled, reinterpreted, and re-coded into elements of social encounter. Set against the powerful architectural facade of the Nazi’s main building decorated with beautiful soldier reliefs, an overflow of surveillance cameras, loudspeakers and lighting masts are stuffed together to create a surrealistic sculptural setting, becoming messengers of storytelling. Signage found on site, in German and English, display military and daily life.
Two large, carved stone eagles still mark the entrance to the military base. The innocent eagle, once a symbol for Germany, was taken over to symbolize the Nazi Regime. The new plaza enters into dialogue with the birds. Birds nests are hung on the masts, the free song of the birds purposely confronting the stone “Nazi Regime Eagles”. The bird’s nests stand for the re-coding of military power into a democratic world view while looking towards the future for an ecological approach to urbanism.
The controlling station originally on the Campbell Barracks Checkpoint, is decontextualized and repositioned, the structure speaks as an architectural artifact, for itself.
The installation “The Voice of Memory” is embedded within the new park on the former Campbell Barracks. The winning entry for an international, two-phase competition by IBA Heidelberg (International Building Exposition) was designed and realized 2017-2022 by Robin Winogrond together with Studio Vulkan.
The installation “The Voice of Memory” is embedded within the new park on the former Campbell Barracks. The winning entry for an international, two-phase competition by IBA Heidelberg (International Building Exposition) was designed and realized 2018-2022 by Robin Winogrond with Studio Vulkan.
Landscape Architecture: Robin Winogrond Landscape Architecture. Urban Design.
– Sound Specialist: Jonas Weber, Biel CH
– Acoustic Engineering: Simon Schär, Varia Instruments, Bern CH
– Historical Research: Mathias Kohler, Heidelberg DE
Location: Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany.
Photography: Daniela Valentini, Thilo Ross, Robin WInogrond